The year was 1953 in Huntsville, Texas. Joe Clements led Huntsville High to a state championship in football. Sam Houston State University, ending the season with a 9-1 record, played in the Refrigerator Bowl in Evansville, Indiana on December 6. The top movies were Shane, From Here to Eternity, and Stalag 17. The price of milk was 94 cents; gas, 22 cents a gallon; bread, 16 cents a loaf; a postage stamp, 3 cents; and the population of Huntsville was 9,802. That year also saw the conceptual birth of the Texas Prison Employees Credit Union. The following year, on April 6, 1954, fifty-five employees pooled together $10,115, and the financial institution, now known as Community Service Credit Union, was chartered. CSCU has since grown into two high-tech, high-touch facilities in Huntsville.
A credit union is a cooperative association where people come together with various financial needs, some to invest and others to borrow. It is member-owned and exists solely to provide financial services to its members. Other financial institutions are owned by stockholders with the purpose of making a profit or to increase the value of stocks, or dividends on those stocks. At a credit union, every account holder is an owner with equal status, regardless of their account balance. Anyone who works, resides, worships, or attends school in Walker, Trinity, Madison, and the northern portions of San Jacinto and Grimes counties can be a member of CSCU. Upon an initial deposit of only $5.00 into a savings account, a new member is eligible to apply for other services. Community Service Credit Union is a full service financial institution offering all of the services that one associates with large financial institutions, including debit and credit cards, loans, mobile banking, and a host of other services. Additionally, it belongs to the Co-op Shared Branching Network, which boasts over 5,000 locations across the United States. Credit unions displaying the Co-op logo allow members access to services at those locations. As Brenda Hooker, CEO of CSCU, stated, “Our goal is to help people, and having an extensive network of institutions providing convenient access to services fits that goal perfectly! Our Mission Statement is, ‘WE WANT TO BE YOUR FINANCIAL PARTNER FOR LIFE,’ and we work hard to meet and exceed all of your expectations.”
Since opening in October 2015, the new location at Montgomery Road was recognized in November and December as one of the highest transaction volume Shared Branching locations in their class. Guest members, those members of other credit unions within the Co-op Shared Branching Network who actively do business with CSCU, will have access to Co-op ATMs in late summer of 2016. Community Service Credit Union is state chartered and federally insured by the National Credit Union Shared Insurance Fund. Additionally, CSCU is privileged to offer private insurance through Excess Share Insurance which matches current federal insurance rates. For example, if a member has $250,000 in insured deposits, those deposits are insured for double the amount. Only highly qualified institutions who consistently exhibit sound financial business practices can obtain this insurance.
CSCU is governed by a board of directors. This volunteer board is elected from among members by members. The Board provides the general direction of the credit union, and a management team and staff execute the plan, endeavoring to meet the financial desires and needs of the members in the most efficient and effective way. An annual membership meeting takes place each spring, with this year’s meeting taking place on Saturday morning, April 30, at the Texas Prison Museum. Registration begins at 9:30 and the business meeting at 10:00.
Community Service Credit Union can best be seen as people helping people. As stated by Brenda Hooker, “We have a passion for what credit unions stand for and for what we do! Our hope is that we are giving something of value back to our members. We are your neighbors and take great pleasure in serving this community in a variety of ways, including leadership on boards and committees in our schools and churches, and participating in an array of local events.” In a multitude of ways, small and large, the thirty employees of CSCU get involved! And many of these employees have long tenures, including the following:
Over 30 Years
Over 20 Years
Over 15 Years
Over 10 Years
5 or more years
Other Long-term Experience
CSCU has expanded into two beautiful facilities with more than 9,000 members. Growth also involves not only the physical structure, but the internal structure as well. The demand to keep pace with current technology is paramount in enabling its members to handle their financial needs in an efficient and effective way in this twenty-first century. The board continuously prioritizes and anticipates needs in order to stay on the cutting edge, and balances what the credit union can do in relation to what the membership desires. Each location has a Tech Bar for members to use to apply for a loan, get assistance with online banking, help locate a shared branch office near a location they will visit or perhaps relocate to, or learn more about CSCU services. And, both offices offer a Beverage Bar with coffee, water, and soft drinks to enjoy while in for a branch visit. Additionally, speed with the secure automated drive-up, and authentication with your debit card gets an account holder in and out quickly without excessive wait times. If merchants accept your CSCU debit card transactions, your financial institution should, too!
Educating the membership of CSCU is high on the priority list of the board and management. An informed membership is a loyal membership. Members have access to a plethora of information and instructional materials through a well-designed, user-friendly website. Another avenue of assistance was implemented in 2013 as CSCU added a Call Center in order to handle the high volume of daily calls. The Call Center, which includes communication in both English and Spanish, handles from 2,600 to 3,000 calls each month and over 1,000 Web Chat sessions, for about 180 hours of assistance to members. Assistance is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help with a variety of needs, including how to reset a password for online banking, how to download the mobile app and for retrieving your loan due date. Community Service Credit Union offers first class financial services with cutting edge technology and people-pleasing amenities. And, as the prices of bread and stamps continue to rise, the rock-solid integrity of Community Service Credit Union will firmly stand its ground as an institution Huntsville and its five-county area can be proud of!